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Food and Feed Microbiology and Biochemistry

Food and feed products may undergo both wanted and unwanted microbial, biochemical and chemical processes and changes during production and storage, e.g. lactic acid fermentation of milk products, microbial and enzymatic ripening of cheese, meat and fish products, and microbial, enzymatic and chemical deterioration of food products during storage. Different strategies may be used to control, promote or prevent these processes. Biotechnological processes may also be used to produce food and feed ingredients, e.g. polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Contact persons

SINTEF Industry, Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has worked on food and feed related projects for the last 40 years, mostly but not exclusively on project where the positive effects of microorganisms (ripening) or prevention of microbial growth (preservation) play an important role. Laboratory facilities include equipment for both aerobic and anaerobic work with microorganisms, a highly robotized high through-put screening (HTS) laboratory, and fermentation laboratories with facilities for batch (1-150 L) and continuous fermentation, as well as a well-equipped biochemical laboratory. In our projects we frequently cooperate with the Department of Biotechnology at NTNU and SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, Department of Processing Technology, but also with the Norwegian Food Research Institute.

Key competences, research areas and products

  • Evaluation of microbial stability of food products and possible measures to increase the stability.
  • Development of preservative strategies for food products, in particular when the salt (NaCl) content is reduced.
  • Challenge tests with non-pathogenic but food spoiling microorganisms.
  • Microbial adhesion to and biofilm formation on surfaces in contact with food products.
  • Identification of source(s) of contaminating microorganisms in production facilities.
  • Isolation and characterization of in-house starter cultures as well as production of test starter cultures.
  • Microbial and (bio)chemical characterisation of food ripening processes